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/webmasters/community?hl=en
7/23/12
Original Poster
AlmostImp

Domain Penalized - Competitor Adds Sitewide Links - Meaning of "Almost Impossible"

Hi everyone,

Our domain e s o u r c e s .co.uk has recently (15th July 2012) been penalized by Google. Our indexed pages are increasing, however our rankings have suffered significantly. Google has informed us through the Google Webmaster Console by sending us the following message:


We've detected that some of your site's pages may be using techniques that are outside Google's Webmaster Guidelines.
Specifically, look for possibly artificial or unnatural links pointing to your site that could be intended to manipulate PageRank. Examples of unnatural linking could include buying links to pass PageRank or participating in link schemes.
We encourage you to make changes to your site so that it meets our quality guidelines. Once you've made these changes, please submit your site for reconsideration in Google's search results.
If you find unnatural links to your site that you are unable to control or remove, please provide the details in your reconsideration request.
If you have any questions about how to resolve this issue, please see our Webmaster Help Forum for support.
Sincerely,
Google Search Quality Team

We have never purchased a link in our Internet life, except directory links back in 2008. Following this message we ran a link report using Raven. It appears there are websites adding sitewide backlinks to our domain since April 2012. We are certain we never requested those links ourselves. We have since contacted the webmasters of those domains and have managed to get some of the sitewide links removed.

Our question is whether this is the reason for the demotion? If it is, is Google aware of this loophole? We have read http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=35769 and cannot see how we are breaching any of the guidelines, considering we do not do any SEO except by creating quality content for our customers.

Thank you for reading our message and for any feedback you can share.

Sincerely,
Karuna
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All Replies (71)
7/23/12
Original Poster
AlmostImp
This is a list of sites that started backlinking to our domain in April 2012, when the news of the Penguin penalties spread:

atlanticlots.com
quikdrawers.com
rpbusinesses.com
alibabauser.wordpress.com
ccislinks.com
devdir.biz
carbonfinancereport.com
dawsoneng.com
directdoors.com
jennys-flowers.com
matteidoganpersonal.com
modernforums.com
naturalform.com.au
rpbusinesses.com

We have since managed to get a few removed. Shouldn't Google have a way to determine when backlinks have been added on purpose to game its algorithm? 
7/23/12
Original Poster
AlmostImp
Hi again, everyone just as puzzled?
KORPG Kevin
7/23/12
KORPG Kevin
We have never purchased a link in our Internet life, except directory links back in 2008. 

Do these links remain?
travler
7/23/12
travler
Page ending in      /about/partners.php
>If you would like to exchange links with e Sources UK visit <a href='partners/linkexchange.php'>the exchange links form</a>



  • Don't participate in link schemes designed to increase your site's ranking or PageRank. In particular, avoid links to web spammers or "bad neighborhoods" on the web, as your own ranking may be affected adversely by those links.

On Monday, July 23, 2012 11:08:01 AM UTC-4, AlmostImp wrote:
Hi again, everyone just as puzzled?
7/23/12
Original Poster
AlmostImp
Yes, many directories still link to us, and they continue to link to many other sites that are still indexed by Google. They are reputable directories, with a single link back to us per directory. In our view it would be irrational to penalize directories, they help organize content on the web by category/topic. Also they are all directories that have maintained relevance, meaning they have categorized links correctly.
7/23/12
Original Poster
AlmostImp
Thanks, about/partners.php fixed, although all links were relevant to our line of business. 

Is Google penalizing all kinds of link exchanges? Does this mean that any future link endorsement must be made within content only?
7/23/12
Original Poster
AlmostImp
Is it possible to contact Google to find out the specific reason for the penalty? 
RalphSlate
7/23/12
RalphSlate
No, it is not possible to contact Google over the algorithmic penalty. Additionally, even if you are lucky and manage to fix the problem, there is no immediate feedback from Google over that either. You have to just wait - again, for an unspecified amount of time. It's purgatory at its finest.
travler
7/23/12
travler
See here's the thing: google told ou about the unnatural links and yet you still have / had link exchanges on your site. 

google is in the business of grouping things together and showing lists of sites according to what people search for, so they don't really need 'help' from directories, at least not these days.

Why send people OFF your site? If you accept advertising / paid links/ links exchange and those are to help visitors to your site, then make the links Nofollow. 

As for penalizing link exchanges, short answer is yes. they are. and algorithmic so have to fix it, then ride it out.

On Monday, July 23, 2012 11:46:31 AM UTC-4, AlmostImp wrote:
Thanks, about/partners.php fixed, although all links were relevant to our line of business. 

Is Google penalizing all kinds of link exchanges? Does this mean that any future link endorsement must be made within content only?
travler
7/23/12
travler
Hold it: google said:


We encourage you to make changes to your site so that it meets our quality guidelines. Once you've made these changes, please submit your site for reconsideration in Google's search results.

So document all links/ actions taken in a google doc then contact them with results.


60 MORE
RickRoll
7/27/12
RickRoll
Nope, rules have not changed. 
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